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Movie Renter's Guide

Current Movies - Part 78 - September, 2001

Staff

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

 

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"The Mexican", DreamWorks, 2001, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.35:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DTS, 2 Hr 3 min, Rated R; Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, J.K. Simmons, Bob Balaban, Michael Cerveris, Richard Coca, Gene Hackman; Fate shuns a young man named Jerry (Pitt) when he inadvertently causes a very powerful person to go to jail. To repay this debt to Margolese (Hackman), the man he accidentally crossed, Jerry has been participating in some very dangerous activities, albeit with very limited success. Feeling he has paid his debt in full and ready to give up a life on the wrong side of the law to be with his girlfriend Samantha (Roberts), Jerry is sucked back in for one last job. Of course, this last job isn't going to be easy and involves bringing a Mexican relic back to the U.S. This whole scenario isn't sitting very well with Samantha, who decides she is going through with her plan to move to Las Vegas with or without Jerry. With no choice left but to head down to Mexico, and now with no girlfriend, Jerry heads south to retrieve this cursed piece of Mexican history. Not convinced that repaying his final debt will be enough incentive for Jerry not to make off with the goods, Margolese decides on an insurance package named Leroy (Gandolfini), an infamous goon known for his excessive methods, who has hired to keep a watchful eye on Samantha. This movie had very comedic overtones scattered throughout until the end where the mood changed from cheerful to serious.  - JB -

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: ****
Audio: ****
Photography: *****
Violence: yes
Sex: no
Language: the "F" and "S" words

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"Wicked", Columbia/TriStar, 2000, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 1.85:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 37 min, Rated R; Julia Stiles, William R. Moses, Patrick Muldoon, Vanessa Zima, Michael Parks, Chelsea Field, Louise Myrback; Every family has the usual problems to speak of, but the Christianson's share of problems threaten to disintegrate the family from all directions.  Ben (Moses) and Karen (Field), husband and wife, can't seem to work out their diverging views about what their marriage should be, and they are one step away from a nasty divorce. Their oldest daughter Ellie (Stiles), is showing her contempt outwardly by rebelling against her mother and fighting with kids at school, while it seems to have affected their youngest daughter Inger (Zima) in a different way.  Compounding these issues are Karen's private affair with neighbor Lawson Smith (Muldoon) and Ben's not so secret attraction toward their soon to be ex-housekeeper Lena (Myrback). The situation explodes when Karen is found murdered in her own home, which on the surface looks like a robbery gone wrong.  However, lead investigator Detective Boland (Parks) has a different view, seeing Lawson and immediate family as the only true suspects.  As a package this is about as stripped down a DVD can be, with almost no extras, but a decent storyline will keep you guessing to the very end. - JB -

Entertainment: ***
Video Quality: ****
Audio: ***
Photography: ****
Violence: yes
Sex: suggestive
Language: the "F" and "S" words

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"Exit Wounds", Warner Brothers, 2001, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.35:1 (DVD), Surround Sound, DD, 1 Hr 41 min, Rated R; Steven Seagal, DMX, Isaiah Washington, Anthony Anderson, Michael Jai White, Tom Arnold; Detective Orin Boyd (Seagal) hates crime in a very personal way, so much so that his overzealous conduct has earned him a transfer to the toughest precinct in Detroit. Trouble continues to find its way into Detective Boyd's lap, which he deals with in the only way he sees fit, using swift and decisive action. However, these minor disturbances of the law are only part of a much bigger scheme that Boyd is just beginning to uncover. Latrell Walker (DMX) and T.K. (Anderson), whom Boyd had been chasing as common thieves, hold the key to uncovering this crime spree that has been fueling the streets. Fortunately, Boyd has the help of maybe the only good cop left in Detroit in Detective George Clark (Washington). This movie is filled with decent action from start to finish and is definitely one of Steven Seagal's better films in quite a while. Michael Jai White and DMX (the rapper) supply the film with some very good martial arts scenes. - JB -

Entertainment: ***
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ****
Photography: *****
Violence: yes
Sex: nudity
Language: the "F" and "S" words

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"Memento", Newmarket, 2000, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.32:1, DD, 1 Hr 53 min, Rated R; Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantolano;  Leonard (Pearce) suffered a memory loss disorder when his wife was murdered and the murderer hit him on the head. Being an insurance investigator, he knows how to search for clues, but he has to keep writing his discoveries down, or he will forget what he has just learned 10 minutes ago. In fact, he keeps having to be introduced to his friend Teddy (Pantolino), along with a recent acquaintance, Natalie (Moss), both of whom are trying to help him find the killer, and maybe do them both a favor or two along the way. - JB -

Entertainment: ***
Video Quality: ****
Audio: ***
Photography: ****
Violence: yes
Sex: nudity
Language: the "F" and "S" words

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"Blow", New Line Cinema, 2001, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.29:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 4 min, Rated R; Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Paul Reubens, Ray Liotta; This film is based on a true story of George Jung (Depp), who grew up in an impoverished family, and began selling marijuana for fear of ever being poor again. His success takes him to Colombia, where he meets Pablo Escobar, and moves on to selling cocaine ("Blow" is the street word for this drug) by the hundreds of pounds. He meets and marries a local girl, Mirtha (Cruz), who becomes so addicted to cocaine that she drops to 80 pounds and turns violent. She divorces him when he is convicted of drug trade, and he tries to put his life back together because of his love for his daughter, but slides back into crime. It is a sad story that emphasizes how poverty is a big reason why people get into this business. - JEJ -

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ***
Photography: ****
Violence: yes
Sex: nudity
Language: the "F" and "S" words

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"Along Came a Spider", Paramount Pictures, 2001, Color, Filmed in Panavision and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.32:1 (DVD), DD, 1 Hr 43 min, Rated R; Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Penelope Ann Miller, Michael Moriarty; Dr. Alex Cross (Freeman), psychological profiler for the Washington D.C. Police Department, comes out of retirement when Megan Rose, the daughter of Senator Hank Rose (Moriarty), is kidnapped by Gary Sonji (Wincott), a local school teacher. FBI Officer Jezzie Flannigan (Potter) was responsible for Megan's safety, and offers her help as an assistant to Cross in his investigation. In their attempt to locate Megan, they uncover the real reason for her kidnapping, which involves the son of the Russian President. Although Freeman is superb in his reprisal of the role he played in "Kiss the Girls", spider is nowhere near as suspenseful. Nevertheless, a reasonable film.  - JEJ -

Entertainment: ***
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ***
Photography: ***
Violence: yes
Sex: no
Language: the "F" and "S" words

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"A Knight's Tale", Columbia Pictures, 2001, Color, Filmed spherically and presented at measured aspect ratio 2.30:1 (DVD), DD, 2 Hr 13 min, Rated PG-13; Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany; In 14th century France, William Thatcher (Ledger) would like to enter jousting matches, but they are restricted to Nobility. So, with the help of his friends, including one Jeffery Chaucer (Bettany), they draw up forged documents and enter matches all over Europe. Count Adhemar (Sewell) vies not only for the same championships, but for the affections of Jocelyn (Sossamon) who prefers William, much to the Count's irritation. Although set in the time of Arthur, the music is modern rock. At first, I was put off by this, but soon came around and found it to be quite enjoyable.  - JEJ -

Entertainment: ****
Video Quality: *****
Audio: ****
Photography: ****
Violence: yes
Sex: mild
Language: no

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Copyright 2001 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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